South Korea’s Culture Ministry Declares AI-Generated Content Exempt from Copyright Protection

SEOUL - In a significant policy announcement on Wednesday, South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism stated that artificial intelligence (AI)-generated content will not be eligible for copyright registration, a decision that addresses the growing global debate over AI's role in creative processes.

According to Yonhap News Agency, this move is part of a broader initiative to establish South Korea as a leading nation in copyright protection. The policy determination reflects ongoing international discussions regarding the recognition of AI as a creative entity.

During a press briefing in Seoul on December 27, 2023, Culture Minister Yu In-chon outlined the government's stance, emphasizing the need to adapt to changes brought about by the evolution of AI technologies. The ministry, responsible for overseeing the country's copyright protection policies, has been actively involved in formulating guidelines to assist cultural industry stakeholders navigating the challenges of the AI era.

Following extensive deliberations, the ministry resolved that AI-generated content, created without significant creative input from humans, would not be granted copyright registration. The ministry clarified that registration would be reserved for works that distinctly embody human thought and emotion.

This policy decision will be detailed in an upcoming "AI copyright guidebook," intended as a resource for AI businesses, copyright holders, and users. The guidebook will outline the responsibilities of AI businesses to provide fair compensation to copyright holders for the use of their creations. It will also advise copyright holders on how to explicitly indicate their intentions or implement technical measures to prevent the use of their works for AI training.

Minister Yu In-chon underscored the importance of proactive engagement with the evolving copyright landscape, highlighting the transformative impact of new AI technologies on creative practices.

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